The best way to finish a boat is to apply as many coats of paint as you can afford. So far I have applied close to a half gallon of paint to the hull (5 coats). I'm going to keep applying paint until I run out. That should be about 12 coats at this rate. That should suffice.
Religion, politics, and boat paint are the top three most controversial subjects in the known universe. I spent months reading what everyone had to say on the subject. There are a dizzying array of paints available, all with their own sets of pro's and con's. Every type of paint has its proponents and critics. In the end, I decided to go with Porch and Floor enamel. Porch and Floor enamel is the one paint that most people seem to agree, (more or less), is a perfectly fine paint to use on a boat.
On my last build I used Interlux Brightside. Brightside is terrific paint. I was very pleased with the results. It goes on smooth, levels very nicely, covers well, dries hard, but it's somewhat expensive.
I read numerous times that Porch and Floor enamel is essentially the same thing as Brightside at a fraction of the cost. John Welsford also recommends alkyd (oil-based) enamel paints. So I decided to give it a go. Remember, the best way to finish a boat is to apply as many coats of paint as you can afford.
Interlux Brightside paint is a polyurethane alkyd enamel that costs about $110/gal at the local West Marine.
Ace Porch & Floor paint is a polyurethane alkyd enamel that costs $27/gal at the local Ace Hardware.
After using both, I honestly can't tell the difference.